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Spied: Holden VE Ute

Motoring Channel Staff - 19/Apr/2007

Holden VE Ute Spied
Spied: Holden VE Ute / Chevy El Camino

Holden VE Ute Spied
The previous generation Holden VZ Ute

Melbourne, Australia Update: Holden VE Ute revealed. We were at the Holden launch in Melbourne for the new VE ute in August 2007, complete with insider information from the Lions den and plenty of images.

The first spy photos have emerged showing the new Holden VE Ute.

The new Ute wasn't supposed to be launched (and hence probably wouldn't be seen testing on the streets of Melbourne just yet) for another few months, but GM Holden in Australia and General Motors in America have dropped a number of hints that give credence to potential North American vehicle exports, and this is believed to have spurred development.

It is growing more and more likely that the new Holden VE ute could be rebadged and the front end restyled to be exported and sold as the Chevrolet El Camino in North America, after the model is launched later in 2007 in Australia.

Plans to launch the Holden VE ute are believed to have been accelerated as GM's top brass in the States want to see the new model sooner rather than later following positive responses from the US media and public about the Pontiac G8 - which is a rebadged and restyled Holden Commodore.

Such a vehicle would also be a far more fuel efficient 'pickup' or craftsmans truck than the traditional large pickups sold in America.

We were sent an email yesterday about images that emerged on the LS1.com.au forums, showing a picture of the disguised Holden VE ute down at the beach in Port Melbourne/St. Kilda. The images were taken by Dirt Bike World (DBW) and indicate that the vehicle will be based on the Zeta platform - slightly longer than the previous VZ underpinnings - and which is more commonly referred to as the 'global rear-wheel drive architecture'. 

This is the same platform that the new Camaro and Pontiac G8 will use, and a number of other American cars are expected to use the Australian-developed floorplan. 

The spy shots of the Holden VE ute with the strawberries-and-cream camoflage indicate that the front and rear wheel arches have been greatly flared (like the current VE Commodore) and the black car-bra camoflage at the front hides what looks to be a front apron quite similar to the VE Commodore front end. There's also camo on the rear end, to hide the new brake light styling, and also on the B-pillar to disguise it's cabin styling. There's a vertical line ofblack tape down the rear tray to make the ute's tray look like a tub, a la the Falcon ute.

Some of the criticisms that were levelled at the last VZ Holden ute revolved around interior space. Many customers wanted more room behind the seats to stow gear and equipment, a deeper rea tray, and a stronger rear suspension system to allow it to bear higher loads. We'll find out soon enough whether these issues have been addressed.

Furthermore, reports have been circulating of various sightings of the new VE ute, including those with larger 17- and 18-inch wheels and exhaust pipes, which would suggest that V8 SS models will return to the line-up alongside entry-level V6 models. Because the new model is based on the Zeta platform, it's also expected to be more involving to drive, and may even come with ESP. The HSV Maloo utes are likely to arrive a few months after the VE Ute launches, most likely late 2007 or early 2008, and will be powered by the 6.0-litre LS2 V8 engine.

One of the latest posts on the forum threads from LS1.com.au reads:

"What I can say without compromising my position. The ute will be launched in Late September/ early October. The checkered photos were a good grab eh. I've been for a drive and verrry impressed. No separate tub - that's a black piece of tape. The tub will be deeper than the current series.All other images/computer modified "claiming" to be like the VE are way off the mark."

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